Stimulant abuse and stimulant addiction
Stimulants are available in many forms in Ireland. Presentations to specialist addiction services for rehabilitation is common and stimulant dependence is becoming an increasing concern. Ecstasy and amphetamine were for long the main forms of stimulant abuse in Ireland with a rise in cocaine notable during the celtic tiger era. Stimulant type hallucinogens such as ketamine are now readily available in Ireland whereas 10 years ago these were relatively rare drugs on the illicit market. Furthermore, the rising prominence of synthetic drugs such as MDPV, PMMA and the phenylethylamine hallucinogens all present challenges for addiction rehabs.
Cocaine addiction remains a problem even in difficult economic circumstances. The comorbid use of cocaine and alcohol is important clinically. Cocaine and alcohol combine in the body (when taken concurrently) to form cocaethylene, an independent, pharmacologically active compound which is addictive but also toxic to the heart.
The internet provides ready access to stimulants through head sho products and in fact more recently illicit substances are being sold through the internet. Relapse prevention strategies in stimulant abuse and dependence will focus on educating the user on the very real dangers that exist with obtaining stimulants from illicit sources. Common mistakes with head shop stimulants include taking these drugs in the wrong doses. Head shop products may vary in the time to reach intoxication following ingestion. The user can mistakingly think that the head shop product is weak and go on to ingest much more leading to an overdose state. Another difficullty with the head shop products is that we know very little about the physical effects of the drug as no testing whatsoever has been carried out on the drugs.